Women are the major users of water. They do the bulk of water collection! Yet women make up a minority of representation and thus decision-making across water committees in Vanuatu: only 16 percent of water committees have women.

“I am the treasurer of the water committee in the village of Siviri,” said Leiseth Arthur humbly.

“There are five members in our water committee of which three are women.”

Ms Arthur was making laplap in her bush kitchen when she was called to come out for an interview and photos with the Minister of Lands, Ralph Regenvanu, at the handover of the community water project. She apologised graciously then proceeded to talk about her work.

Minister Regenvanu, in his remarks spoke to the heart of the matter, “Findings from studies done on women’s involvement in water committees clearly demonstrate that women’s involvement leads to better working committees and a water system that works”.

For Matarisu’s newly elected water committee, the posts of Secretary and Treasurer are held by women. These are key posts that ensure an efficiently run committee and the secure management of funds. Jocelyn Seule, the Secretary, spoke with new energy about the plans the committee has to reopen their bank account and relook at how they work.

“Since we are all very new it is important that we start well. We are seeking support to help us to do our work better to ensure that our community and children keep getting water to support their livelihoods”, said Ms Seule.

The Emua Village Water Committee currently has only one woman with membership being largely male. This will change in the near future. READ MORE